Organizing doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s hard when you are working full-time, getting dinner ready, or running the kids around to appointments. However, there are many things you can do right now to get organized.
The New Year is quickly approaching and is a great time to create new habits. While many people will wait until the New Year to start something new, there are some things you can do right now to get organized.
Power of Habit
Growing up every single night our mom would ask us “Did you wash your face and brush your teeth?” To this day, I can’t go to bed without doing it.
Habits are a powerful thing. This past year I read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, what a fascinating read. If you haven’t read it, read it, you’ll get a better understanding of who you are and what you do. I thought a lot of what I did was being Type-A, which is mostly true but it all made sense after reading the book.
There is a cycle of life when it comes to habits. First, there is a trigger or cue, then there is a routine and finally a reward.
Here’s an example of this works:
We are going to use my habit of washing my face and brushing my teeth at night. My trigger is getting ready for bed. The routine is washing my face and brushing my teeth and I’m rewarded with a clean face and mouth before going to bed.
The reverse effect works in the morning too. I’m triggered by getting out of bed, the routine is washing my face and brushing my teeth and the rewarded is having a clean face and mouth.
It’s the reward that drives us to do what we do.
There are nights to this day where I don’t want to wash my face and brush my teeth because I’m tired and want to go to bed. Why do I keep doing it even when I’m tired? It’s the reward, I love the feeling of being clean before going to bed.
Creating New Habits
Creating habits is hard, it takes on average 66 days to create a new one. It’s the reward that will continue to drive you.
I added a habit about a year ago of waking up early in the morning between 5-6am to journal, pray, and blog. It was my quiet time before the kids woke up in the morning. It got my day started off on the right foot because it started before the kids. If you have kids, you understand waking up after your kids leave you rushing for the day.
We have three young kids, one that is still a baby and still wakes up occasionally during the night. There are times when I’ve been up at 4 am and contemplated what to do, should I go back to bed or get up and complete my morning ritual?
I’ve done both and it all depends on how I’m feeling. Sleep is critical to everyone’s health and I know myself well enough to know that if I don’t have enough sleep I’m not as productive. However, I can’t stand waking up after my kids. It leaves me feeling rushed for the entire day and it drives me nuts.
There have been times where I’ve been so tired but it’s the reward that keeps me going. When I’m able to complete my morning routine peacefully before the kids wake up, it’s refreshing and it starts the day off on the right foot.
Breaking Bad Habits
While creating new habits is hard, breaking old habits can be just as hard.
I’m embarrassed to admit this but I used to watch The Real Housewives religiously, like bad. I couldn’t get enough of it. I would look forward to Thursday nights because that’s when new episodes were on, that’s when there was only one franchise (Orange County).
Bravo had all of their profiles on the website and I read every single one, I knew everything about each housewife. Each housewife would write a blog after each episode and I’d read those too. I was addicted to the housewives.
This was a bad habit that needed to be eliminated. Watching this show didn’t really fit into the life I wanted to lead. It started out as entertainment and became women drinking and screaming at each other. It was painful to watch, I was embarrassed for them.
Plus, watching this show just didn’t make me feel good. Is this really what I want my daughter seeing? Absolutely not.
I wanted to break this habit but wasn’t sure how until I read The Power of Habit. After reading this book, this habit needed to replace this habit with another one. I paid attention to my trigger when I wanted to watch the show and replaced it by watching another one.
Instead of watching the housewives, I would put on HGTV or a Netflix show. Over time, my love for the housewives faded.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are times when I see The Real Housewives of Orange County or The Housewives of New Jersey are on and I really want to watch them. I’m disappointed the second I turn it on, nothing has changed.
I’m happy that I’m disappointed because it means I’ve broken that habit.
Breaking this habit of watching a television show can apply to any bad habit such as biting your nails. If you bite your nails, right before you do it, find something else you can do to replace that habit.
You’ll have to do this consistently because doing it once won’t work.
There are a few things I keep in mind when trying to break a habit:
Saying no to something now, means I’m saying yes to something else. For example, if I say no to watching the housewives, I’m saying yes to how I will feel by not watching it. I want to feel good about myself and saying no gives me the reward of feeling good about myself later.
Resist the temptation. Doing this is hard, really hard sometimes. If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you know exactly what I’m talking about. There are times when you just want to eat that cookie but if you resist the temptation you’ll thank yourself later and be happier.
There are good habits and bad habits. When you focus on creating more good habits, you’ll start to see the bad habits eventually fade away on their own.
Creating good habits is what will ultimately help you succeed in life.
Here is a list of healthy habits that will help keep you organized.
Make Your Bed
Making your bed every morning sets the tone for the day. If you don’t have time to make your bed because you don’t have time, the rest of your day is going to be off track and you’ll feel unorganized. When you make your bed, it’s a sense of completion and it’s like the horn blowing off saying it’s time to start your day. The second you roll out of bed, do it immediately.
Hang Up Your Clothes
It’s easy to come home after a long day of work and change out of your work clothes and put them on the bed or floor. It only takes seconds to do so but at night you’ve made yourself believe that it’s going to take 5 minutes and you are too tired. Put them away immediately when you change out of them, you’ll be happier you did and won’t end up with a pile of clothes on the floor at the end of the week.
Keep The Sink Empty
Doing dishes is an annoying task. Do them right after dinner is over, if you can’t do them right away, do them after the kids go to bed. Waking up in the morning without a sink full of dishes to do will save you time. Plus, you won’t be starting your day behind. Keep the end in mind with this one.
Plan Your Day
Write down your appointments or use your smartphone calendar, whatever you decide to do, stick to it. Take your ‘To Do’ list and scheduled them into your calendar. By doing this, you will get your to-do list done faster and not waste any time. To help you keep your schedule on track, use a timer. When you use a timer, you will boost your productivity. When you plan the day, you run the day instead of it running you. You can get a free day planner here. Download
Track Your Expenses
Keeping track of where your money goes will keep you more organized. You’ll spend less and feel like you have control of your money rather than it having control over you. You’ll save more by knowing where your money is going. Doing a budget isn’t hard and can quickly be done on an app. Mint and Every Dollar are great budgeting apps, both are free so there’s no excuse for not creating a budget. It takes discipline to stick to a budget but keep the end result in mind here as well and you’ll feel great.
Hang Up Your Keys
Misplacing your keys is frustrating. The entire house gets blown up because your doing a frantic search for them because you need to leave and you can’t find them. Invest in a key holder and hang them up every single time. The best place for it is right by the door so it’s the first thing you do when you get home. One of the toughest times to remember to do this is when you bring in groceries from the car. Your keys are in your hand and then you start to unpack the groceries and forget to hang them up. Make it a habit to hang up your keys the second you want in the door.
If you are reading this at home, you can complete four of these tasks right now: Go make your bed, hang up your clothes, hang up your keys and clean out the dishes in the sink.
Your house will be cleaner and your head will be clearer because you’ll have greater focus.
How To Change
Creating a new habit or breaking an old habit is hard, it takes hard work and discipline. Start with one habit and build from there. Once you have one habit down, add another one and keep going until the list is complete.
It takes on average 66 days to create a new habit, that’s just over two months.
To help you create a new habit, ask a friend to help you. Tell them what you are trying to achieve and have them be your accountability partner.
Write it down, when we write things down we are making a commitment to ourselves. Make it a goal to create new habits.
There’s a quote out there that says:
No one succeeds alone. Never walk alone in your future paths.
We all try to do it on our own but it takes a village. There is much we can learn from others if we are willing to ask for help.
Habits are the cornerstone to success and help keep us organized. When we recognize our triggers, we can easily break habits and replace them with good ones.
List out your bad habits and write down good habits you can do to replace the bad ones. If you don’t make your bed daily, write it down and replace that habit with making your bed daily. It’s as simple as that, don’t overthink it.
Track your progress to help keep the momentum going, reward yourself once you’ve reached your goal.
The simple daily tasks of making your bed every day, hanging up your clothes, keeping the sink empty, planning your day, tracking your expenses, and hanging up your keys will keep you organized every day.
Once you finish this list, start a new list.
What do you do every day to stay organized?